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Merrick looks to defence as Melbourne Victory experience striker shortage

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick must look to his defence as the 2010/11 squad experiences a severe striker shortage.

Last night, the two-time A-League champions took on Argentine giants Boca Juniors, going down 1-0 at Etihad Stadium and it was the back half for the Victory that grabbed the headlines in Merrick's mind.

"In particular I thought our defence were rock-solid without Kevin (Muscat)," Merrick said. "Roddy (Vargas) has recovered from dengue fever, had an outstanding game, so did Ado (Adrian Leijer) and little Leigh (Broxham), who was rock-solid at the back. They (Boca) hardly had a clear shot on goal thanks to our defence. We didn't have Kevin (Muscat) so it was great to see our backline do so well."

Merrick is well aware that the team requires some potency up front with injury forcing Archie Thompson out for most of the season and even joked that it would be nice for Boca coach Claudio Borghi to leave one of his attackers behind.

"I would be very happy if Claudio Borghi leaves me a striker," the Scot added. "I think we need a striker in our team but I was pretty happy creating four chances, we didn't put any of them away, but it was good to see us create those. We had some younger players come on, some 17 year olds, so it seems our depth is pretty good as well."

When asked which of Boca's strikers he would prefer, Merrick was not fussed.

"Any of the guys up at the pointy end would do me," he quipped.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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